Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Take A Knee" (Non-Protest & Protest Descriptions & Meanings)

Edited by Azizi Powell

[Latest revision: September 29, 2017]

This pancocojams post quotes various selected online sources about the history of the non-protest use of the term "take a knee".

This post also describes the protest form of "take a knee" and quotes several online sources about the the protest meanings of that gesture and the "locking arms" gesture which may accompany or substitute for "taking a knee".

Five YouTube videos document the protest "take a knee" gesture and the "Locked arm" gesture.

The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural, political, historical, and linguistic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all who are quoted in this post. Special thanks to Colin Kaepernick for being the first to take a stand against racism by "taking a knee".

These quotes are given in no particular order and are numbered for referencing purposes only.

Excerpt #1:
From A brief history of "taking a knee"
September 25, 2017, by Ben Zimmer under Language and sports
"With dozens of NFL players "taking a knee" during the national anthem as a form of silent protest, the very phrase "take a knee" has been invested with new significance. "Take a knee" or "take the knee" now expresses solidarity against racial injustice and defiance against Donald Trump's attacks on protesting players. As the phrase dominates the headlines, it's worth taking a look at its history in football and beyond. While The Dictionary of American Slang dates the expression back to the 1990s (as noted by John Kelly on his Mashed Radish blog), I've found examples in football going all the way back to 1960. And while "taking a knee" may have also become a military tradition, the phrase's origin is firmly rooted in football, with a number of interlocking uses.

"Take a knee," to describe getting down on one knee, seems to be influenced by other "take" idioms, such as "take a seat" and "take a break." But when did the knee-taking begin? Plumbing databases of digitized newspapers, I discovered the following 1960 example in an article about the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks held a Varsity-Alumni game, and during halftime, one of the Alumni players, Albert "King" Dixon Jr., paid tribute to Rex Enright, a longtime coach and athletic director who had died the month before.

With two minutes left before they had to go back out on the field, the Little King stood up and said: "Some of us talked about this before the game. We all played for him. We all loved him. Now he's gone. So let's all take a knee for a moment of silence for our Rex Enright."
—The State (Columbia, S.C.), May 2, 1960, p. 3B


Knee-taking in this early example takes the form of kneeling in prayer, for a shared moment of silence in the locker room. But when "take a knee" began showing up again in the news databases in the 1970s, it tended to refer to the kind of kneeling one might do when taking a rest or gathering oneself.


In the early 1980s, "take a knee" started to appear more frequently for situations in which an entire team would kneel, as for a group prayer, a pep talk from the coach, or a similar moment of solidarity.


Also in the early '80s, "taking a knee" came to refer to various situations on the field where a player ends a play by intentionally kneeling, thus downing the ball. In this 1982 example, the situation in question involves a receiver taking a knee on a kickoff return.


Beginning in the '90s, "taking a knee" or "taking the knee" often referred to the "quarterback kneel," where the quarterback on the winning team runs out the clock by kneeling after the snap — either to protect a small lead or as a show of sportsmanship with a larger lead.


Since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem last year, the expression has taken on a very different set of associations, now appearing in hashtagged form as either #TakeAKnee or #TakeTheKnee. As John Kelly* observes, "take a knee" has outnumbered "take the knee" in search frequency as measured by Google Trends. But as a generalized slogan for a movement expanding well beyond the gridiron, "take the knee" may find greater success."
This article includes a number of examples of the use of "take a knee" throughout the decades from 1960 throughout the 1990s.

*John Kelly is the editor of the Mashed Radish blog. An excerpt from that blog's post on this subject is below.

Example #2
“Taking a knee”: Simple phrase, powerful—and changing—meaning
Mashed Radish, everyday etymology, Posted on September 25, 2017
"The phrase take a knee goes back to at least 1990s military and football slang.

The gesture of taking a knee is a dynamic and complex one, and one that many soldiers... do to show respect for their fallen fellows or to take a rest while on a mission.


Catholics also traditionally take knees—or genuflect—before the altar, as did subjects before rulers in antiquity and the Middle Ages. Marriage-proposers also traditionally take knees when asking for their partner’s hand in marriage. Kneeling, here, is at once submissive and reverential, showing humility and adoration.

Quarterbacks also kneel during actual gameplay. If a team has a slim lead at the end of the game, for instance, they quarterback will often will drop to one knee when snapped the ball. This ends the play but also runs down the clock in order to avoid a fumble or interception and thus lose their lead."...

In its entry for the term, cites the Historical Dictionary of American Slang for the colloquial football phrase, which dates it back to the 1990s.

Early evidence on Google Books turns up the gridiron expression in 2003, the same year Boise State Broncos football coach Dan Hawkins memorably said of his decision not to run down the clock when his team had a one-score lead with less than a minute to go in the game:

If we had knelt on the ball at the end of the game, wouldn’t that have been the end of the game? Yeah, it would have been. But Gandhi didn’t take a knee, Martin Luther King didn’t take a knee, Thomas Edison didn’t take a knee, and I sure as hell am not going to take a knee.


Google Books also yields an early military use in 2000, from J.S. Kindrick’s Gulf War-era novel The Spirit Horses:

I instinctively take a knee to one side of the wadi in preparation of our react-to-contact drill, an Australian peel-back, as I hear the distinct and unmistakable flat pop of an AK.

Kindrick’s knee-taking depicts the gesture as a defensive maneuver, allowing soldiers to steady themselves and quickly pivot back into action.

Another sports-related example comes in 2000 from Thomas M. Gerbasi’s boxing chronicles, Ring Rambling


Gerbasi’s knee-taking is an effort to stabilize, to resist an inevitable defeat.

But the earliest example Google Books offers for forms of taking a knee comes in a 1993 edition of the journal Military Medicine. Describing use of a knee-pad, a soldier marks off taking a knee as a novel expression:

I slipped in a knee pad in each side. This was not restrictive, sweaty, or expensive. I “took a knee” on whichever knee was less swollen that day, and I switched pad sides occasionally
In the beginning sentence in this excerpt about the military use of "take a knee", the author of this article notes that Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former NFL player, was the one who suggested the "take a knee" protest gesture to then San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick rather than the protest he was doing of remaining seated while the national anthem was being sung. That information is also included in Excerpt #2 in the Protest Form Of "Take A Knee" section below which was written by Eric Reid, another San Francisco 49er player who participated in that initial take a knee protest with Kaepernick.

This article also includes an update about the early use of "take a knee" that is given in the Language Log article excerpted above.

Excerpt #3
"Take a Knee
"Take a Knee", the worst diss in sports. This term comes from American Football. Should you screw up during practice or worse, during a game, the coach tells you "take a knee" where which you go to the sideline and kneel down on one knee so that the team and audience can see your total humiliation. I first heard this term in 1984, though I know it has to originate from a date way before my time. My coach of at least 45 yrs. old at the time used this term.

Coach Says: Miss your read...Take a Knee. Miss your block...Take a Knee. Miss your hole...Take a knee.
Ex: John Doe! Get your blocks or you're taking a knee.
Ex: Je..s Freakin' Chr..t... that ball fell right through your hands, Take a Knee.

by ElCompaDelChuco April 02, 2007

"Take a knee" is a silent form of protest (i.e. no singing, chanting, or speaking) in which a person kneels down on the ground, usually with one knee, but sometimes with both knees.

The protest form of "take a knee" was first performed in September 1, 2016 by San Francisco 49ers players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid to protest racial injustice and police treatment of Black people in the United States. There had only been four "take a knee" protests prior to President Donald Trump's criticism of this form of protest in a profanity laden campaign speech on Sept 22, 2017 and prior to his subsequent tweets throughout that weekend and early in that next week. However, after Trump's criticism of "take a knee" protests and his call for those kneeling during the national anthem to be fired, this form of protest has grown to include more than 200 professional football players to date. "Taking a knee" protests have also grown to include others affiliated and non-affiliated with the NFL, including the entire Dallas Cowboys football team and their owner. The Cowboys' protest occurred on the sidelines prior to the singing of the national anthem.

Theoretically "take a knee" could be performed by anyone, anywhere, and could be used to protest any cause or causes. However, to date, most examples of "take a knee" have been done by (Black) National Football League (NFL) players.* This protest action usually occurs by players kneeling in a horizontal line on the sideline of the playing field during the singing of the United States national anthem. However, in August 2017, several Cleveland Browns players "took a knee" while forming a prayer circle on the sideline during the singing of the national anthem.

Since Trump's criticism of football players kneeling during the national anthem, on September 23, 2017 Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB (Major League Baseball) player to take a knee. Trump's criticism of kneeling during the singing of the national anthem has also motivated national anthem singers, celebrities, politicians and others to "take a knee" in protest of racial inequality and police brutality and/or in support of first amendment rights for athletes to engage in non-violent protest. Also, a number of athletes such as NBA (National Basketball Association) star LeBron James, a number of celebrities such as Stevie Wonder have publicly expressed their support for "take a knee" protest as a first amendment right and/or because of the social justice issues that have been articulated by Colin Kaepernick. Furthermore, the general public's interest in the NFL "take a knee" protests resulted in #take a knee being a top trending hashtag on twitter. And note that as early as September 2016, Black and non-Black supporters of Colin Kaepernick's protest also "took a knee" in front of the stadium prior to the game and raised their fist in support during Kaepernick's protest (as shown in the video given below as Exanple #1).
Given the percentage of Black players in the NFL, it's not surprising that most of the players who have "taken a knee" have been Black. Here's an August 30, 2016 article about those statistics and the initially critical reception that Colin Kaepernick received from many Black NFL players regarding his protests.
From "Blacks Represent 70 Percent Of NFL Players, Fan Base 83 Percent White" by Morgan Jenkins/Rolling Stome, August 30, 2016
"Seventy percent of African-American men comprise NFL rosters despite representing only six percent of the United States' population.

While the majority of NFL players are black, the NFL fan base is 83 percent white and 64 percent male.

The NFL has no African-Americans who are a majority owner of a team and no African-American CEOs or Presidents.

Colin Kaepernick has received criticism from many of his fellow NFL players and fans for his protest of the treatment of people of color in the United States by not standing for the national anthem."

"Take A Knee" Gesture
"Take a knee" is a silent form of protest in which a person places one knee, or less often, both knees on the ground. A person who takes a knee usually slightly bow his or her head and may also place one hand over their heart, or raise one fist in protest. While "taking a knee" in protest, the person's facial expression is always stoic*.
* Revised 9/29/2017
I previously used the words "solemn and determined" to describe this facial expression. However, after reading an article about these protests that used the word "stoic", I've changed my description of that expression throughout this post because I think that the word "stoic" is a better fit.

"Hands On Shoulder" Gesture
Sometimes a person* standing next to a person who protests by "taking a knee" places one of his hands on the shoulder of the person kneeling. This "hand on shoulder" gesture is an expression of that person's support for the person "taking a knee", if not also an expression of support for the cause/s that person is protesting.

Usually, the person who puts his hand on his team mate's shoulder also bows his head and also has a stoic expression on his face.

*or persons

"Locking Arms" [Revised September 29, 2017]
The "locking arms" gesture is lifted from other protest movements and signifies unity & solidarity. In addition to being a symbol of unity, one reason for "locking arms" during protest in to make it more difficult for people opposed to the protest to break up the protest or attack individual protesters. "Locking arms" also makes it more difficult to separate protesters who are being arrested.

Like "taking a knee", in the NFL, the linked arm gesture occurs on the sidelines of the playing field during the singing of the national anthem. Some players might choose to "lock arms" while others choose to "take a knee". Prior to Trump's September 22, 2017 comments labeling the NFL's protests during the singing of the national anthem as disrespectful of the United States anthem and the flag, almost all of the NFL players who "locked arms" were Black. However, since Trump's comments and tweets which have revived and strengthen the NFL players' protests, many more Black players and some non-Black players have "locked arms" as an alternative to "taking a knee". In fact, entire teams have stood on the sidelines usually during the singing of the national anthem and "locked arms" as an expression of unity and equality, and, perhaps also for the same causes that have been articulated by those who "take a knee".That said, it appears that many teams "lock arms" as an alternative to "taking a knee". However, at their televised game on September 26, 2017, the entire Dallas Cowboys team, coaches, and owner "took a knee" before the singing of the national anthem, and then locked arms during the national anthem. (That video is given as Example #5 below.)

During NFL protest and related protests such as those by the WNBA*, people standing with locked arms usually bow their head and have a stoic facial expression.
* From "WNBA teams link arms, leave floor during national anthem at Game 1 of Finals" by Nina Mandell, September 24, 2017
These Women's National Basketball Association [WNBA} players also bowed their heads and had a stoic
expression while standing arm and arm.

Example #1: Kaepernick takes a knee at New Era Field

WIVBTV, Published on Oct 16, 2016

Kaepernick takes a knee at New Era Field
Members of the San Francisco 49ers "taking a knee": Eli Harold #58, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35

Example #2: First White NFL Player Takes a Knee During National Anthem

CONTENT, Published on Aug 23, 2017

24-year-old Seth DeValve just became the first white NFL player to kneel during the national anthem.

Example #3: More than 200 NFL players protest after Trump's criticism

CBS This Morning, Published on Sep 25, 2017

Pro football players are defying President Trump after he told them not to protest during the national anthem. Mr. Trump's criticism led to sideline demonstrations Sunday at stadiums across the country. DeMarco Morgan reports.

Example #4: Bruce Maxwell Kneel During National Anthem - 9/24/2017

Xeon Lyrics, Published on Sep 23, 2017

Bruce maxwell mlb kneel During National Anthem - 09/24/2017

Example #5: Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones take knee before national anthem

ABC News, Published on Sep 26, 2017

The Cowboys stood and linked arms during the national anthem as other teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, and players, like Denver Broncos star Von Miller, experience fallout from their reactions to President Trump's comments on the NFL.
Note that the Dallas Cowboys, including their coaches and owner Jerry Jones (known as a strong Trump supporter), took a knee before the singing of the national anthem. Here's a comment that Jerry Jones made about that action:
"The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones added a distinctive wrinkle to the NFL’s national anthem demonstrations Monday night, with Jones, Coach Jason Garrett and other coaches and front office executives taking a knee in unison before the anthem, then rising and locking arms as it was being performed.


"Our players wanted to make a statement about unity and we wanted to make a statement about equality,” Jones said at a postgame news conference. “They were very much aware that statement, when made or when attempted to be made in and a part of the recognition of our flag, cannot only lead to criticism but also controversy.

It was real easy for everybody in our organization to see that the message of unity, the message of equality was getting, if you will, pushed aside or diminished by the controversy. We even had the circumstances that it was being made into a controversy.”

These quotes are given in no particular order and are numbered for referencing purposes only.

Excerpt #1:
From ”Taking A knee: Why Are NFL Players Protesting And When Did They Start Kneeling?"

Critics say that the sport should be clear of politics, but athletes have used their platform to protest before
Clark Mindox, New York, September 26, 2017
"More and more have joined American football player Colin Kaepernick’s protest movement against police brutality, a move that has come to be something of direct resistance to Donald Trump after the President weighed in on the issue.

The contentious move to take a knee during the national anthem before a game, or stand with arms locked in silent protest, follows in a long tradition of sports stars standing up for what they believe to be right — but some charge that it is unpatriotic and that politics should be kept out of sports....

Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin] Kaepernick’s protest first occurred 13 months ago, but was not immediately noticed. At that point, he simply sat on the benches during the US national anthem during a preseason game, just next to the giant Gatorade jugs next to him.

But, he later transitioned to taking a knee in protest - saying he was doing so to show more respect for military veterans - which turned out to be a much more iconic pose. Several other players joined his protest, even though they received a lot of criticism from football fans who said that it was disrespectful to the United States. Still, the movement did not gain huge traction last year.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color," Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. "To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder."


Why is it gaining steam now?
Mr Trump became a catalyst for the protest Friday when he said during a campaign rally in Alabama, saying he wished that NFL players would be fired for kneeling during the national anthem.

“Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired,'” Mr Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it [but] they'll be the most popular person in this country.”...
This is how that profanity was written in this article.

Excerpt #2
From "Eric Reid: Why Colin Kaepernick and I Decided to Take a Knee" by Eric Reid, September 25, 2017
"In early 2016, I began paying attention to reports about the incredible number of unarmed black people being killed by the police. The posts on social media deeply disturbed me, but one in particular brought me to tears: the killing of Alton Sterling in my hometown Baton Rouge, La. This could have happened to any of my family members who still live in the area. I felt furious, hurt and hopeless. I wanted to do something, but didn’t know what or how to do it. All I knew for sure is that I wanted it to be as respectful as possible.

A few weeks later, during preseason, my teammate Colin Kaepernick chose to sit on the bench during the national anthem to protest police brutality. To be honest, I didn’t notice at the time, and neither did the news media. It wasn’t until after our third preseason game on Aug. 26, 2016, that his protest gained national attention, and the backlash against him began.

That’s when my faith moved me to take action. I looked to James 2:17, which states, “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” I knew I needed to stand up for what is right.

I approached Colin the Saturday before our next game to discuss how I could get involved with the cause but also how we could make a more powerful and positive impact on the social justice movement. We spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system. We also discussed how we could use our platform, provided to us by being professional athletes in the N.F.L., to speak for those who are voiceless.

After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former N.F.L. player, we came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy
Eric Reid is a safety for the San Francisco 49ers; Colin Kaepernick is a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers

Excerpt #3:
From "Colin Kaepernick Stood Up for Justice by Kneeling During the National Anthem"
By Jeffery Robinson, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality, September 24, 2017
..."Some say it’s because football is no place for politics. Not true. Gameday at every American stadium includes people waving signs endorsing candidates and offering literature for this or against that. Singing the anthem while jets fly overhead is a political moment. On the field or in the stands, standing at attention with your hand over your heart is a political statement.

Politics at football games is as American as apple pie.

Some say kneeling for the anthem shows disrespect. Respect and love for America doesn’t require blindness to America’s failure to honor its promise of racial justice and equality. Does standing for the anthem mean these failures don’t matter? Does standing show pride that America waited 89 years after the Civil War to acknowledge that Blacks were “good enough” to go to school with whites? How proud are we that in 2017 America’s schools are just as segregated as in 1954?

Kneeling for the national anthem is not lack of support for America’s successes any more than standing for the anthem is support for America’s racial justice failures. As Kaepernick’s 49ers teammate, Eric Reid, put it: “What Colin and Eli (Harold) and I did was peaceful protest fueled by faith in God to help make our country a better place. And I feel like I need to regain control of that narrative and not let people say what we’re doing is un-American. Because it’s not. It’s completely American.”

Kaepernick silently knelt, making no attempt to disrupt the singing of the anthem. He did not try to prevent anyone from standing. This textbook nonviolent protest is totally American.

Some say Kaepernick disrespected the military. Recognizing America’s failure to achieve racial justice and equality shows no disrespect for our military. Our military heroes fight for freedom, for the principles of racial equality and justice, not for a song or a flag. We honor them most not by singing a song but by respecting the values they fight to protect."...

Excerpt #4:
From "First MLB Player Takes A Knee During National Anthem" by Marjua Estevez, September 25, 2017 -
"Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell on Saturday (Sept. 23) became the first major league baseball player to take a knee during the national anthem.

Maxwell now joins countless NFL and NBA players in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, who’s been at the center of a controversial protest that condemns the extrajudicial murders and injustices of black and brown peoples in the United States.

Maxwell’s decision to kneel came after Donald Trump made reference to NFL players not standing for the anthem as employees who “should be fired by their teams.” Trump’s speech took place on Friday in Huntsville, Ala., where Maxwell grew up.

An African-American raised in a military family, Maxwell stands with Colin Kaepernick and other athletes attempting to raise awareness of police brutality and civil mistreatment at the highest level."...
The photograph which accompanies this article shows Bruce Maxwell kneeling with a hand over his heart. Maxwell doesn't bow his head but looks straight ahead with a solemn or determined expression. The (White) team mate who stands directly behind Maxwell places one hand on Maxwell's shoulder as a sign of support.

Excerpt #5
From By JoanMar. 2017/09/23 ·


Lucky Tran ✔@luckytran [tweet]
YES!!! Stevie Wonder just took a knee while performing at #GCFest in @CentralParkNYC, in solidarity with @Kaepernick7 #TakeAKnee
8:31 PM - Sep 23, 2017 · Central Park - Great Lawn

“...Our spirit must be in the right place. All the time...whenever you need to interrupt hate: Stand down bigotry, condemn sexism and find love for all of our global brothers and sisters every day. Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America.”

Excerpt #6:
From “Unprecedented number of NFL players kneel in protest during anthem” By Arnie Stapleton, Sept. 24, 2017
..."It all happened slowly, until it all happened quickly. “Last week across the entire NFL,” the Associated Press reported, “only four players knelt or sat, and two stood with their fists raised. In the nine early games Sunday, AP reporters counted 102 players kneeling or sitting, and at least three raising their fists.” (Later in the day, the AP modified its estimate to “more than 130.”)


[T]hese moments matter. The images being made from these moments matter. The knees on the turf, the fists in the air: these are the gestures that history tends to remember—and that tend to change history’s path even as it moves forward."

Excerpt #7
From "Actor Michael Rapaport Takes A Knee...",
By Dominique Mosbergen, 09/24/2017
"In a fiery video posted to social media, the “Boston Public” actor spoke in support of football player Colin Kaepernick and the NBA’s Stephen Curry.

The term #TakeTheKnee was trending on Twitter on Saturday and early Sunday. Some used the hashtag to criticize the silent protests as unpatriotic. Many others, however, championed athletes’ first amendment rights and lauded their use of celebrity status to advocate for important social causes."

Excerpt #8
"Anthem singer in Detroit takes knee while singing" by Jay Busbee,Shutdown Corner, Sept. 24, 2017
Protests surfaced during the national anthem across all of the NFL’s early Sunday games, largely in response to President Trump’s sharp criticism of the league and its players. Across the league, players and owners knelt or locked arms in solidarity. In Detroit, however, prior to Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, the anthem singer took a statement one step further:

Rico Lavelle, a Detroit singer, finished his version of the anthem by taking a knee and raising a fist. The protests during the anthem have been focused on raising awareness for racial injustice and police brutality, but they’ve also drawn severe criticism and backlash from fans. Media on-site reported boos throughout Ford Field before and after the anthem.

On the sideline, Lions team owner Martha Ford locked arms with head coach Jim Caldwell, while Falcons owner Arthur Blank locked arms with Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones."...
This article includes a slide show of reactions across the NFL as of September 24, 2017

Excerpt #9 [Added September 28,2017 4:36 PM EDT]
From "Veteran Who Kneeled By Trump’s Motorcade Explains Why Protests, Patriotism Go Hand In Hand" By Hayley Miller, 09/28/2017
“The issues that affect our nation can be seen and made visible through sports,” the 60-year-old U.S. Army veteran said.

[photo caption] "Marvin L. Boatright, as seen from President Donald Trump’s motorcade, takes a knee while holding a folded American flag in Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 27, 2017.


As a veteran, and as an African-American, we have already and we continue to serve for God and country,” Boatright said. “But you can have a love of God and country and still be against social injustice. You don’t have to separate one from the other.”

“For the commander in chief to call our citizens ‘sons of a b&&ches’* was totally wrong and beneath the dignity of the office that he holds,” he said about Trump’s repeated attacks against NFL players who kneel or sit during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism.

As Boatright took a knee, he wore an American Legion cap and cradled a folded flag ― a tribute to all veterans, including his father, who served in World War II and died almost 20 years ago. Some onlookers cheered him on, he added...

We love this country,” Boatright, who served in the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry from 1974 to 1976, said of himself and other veterans. “We love this flag. But we also love life and liberty for all humanity.” "
*This word was fully spelled out in this article.

[added September 29, 2017]

Here are links to two articles about "taking a knee" protest that make the point that the NFL diluted [watered down; co-opted] the protest that Colin Kaepernick began in 2016 by muddying up the reasons for the protest gestures or changing those gestures into "affirmations of unity and "first amendment rights of free speech": "How the NFL watered down Colin Kaepernick’s protest" by Jamil Smith September 26, 2017

"This past weekend, the NFL took an opportunity to throw its weight to aid the cause of racial justice and turned it into a bland exhibition of corporate “unity.” What began with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee for
a specific purpose mutated into generic displays bereft of any meaningful message."...

** "The NFL has officially whitewashed Colin Kaepernick’s protest"

The co-opting of protests against racism has a storied history in our country.

Updated by Louis Moore Sep 28, 2017

..."To be clear, although they went to the field and linked arms, owners like Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, Arthur Blank, and Shahid Khan did not join the protests. They co-opted the protests and turned the day into a “mere picnic.” The protests that started out as a demonstration against systemic racism turned into a pacified demonstration for free speech, patriotism, and unity.


Unity is recognizing that black players on your team have had their lives altered by systemic racism. Unity is understanding that police brutality has been an ongoing fight for black Americans since emancipation. The owners’ statements should have addressed those historical realities.

These signs of solidarity, however, intentionally play into America’s desire to see moments of interracial brotherhood. As Americans, we eat this stuff up. It soothes our souls and acts as a moral evasion of America’s ills.

But this fight has to remain about police brutality and systemic racism. And we must remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s radical words uttered during the otherwise neutered protest as Bill Russell looked on: “There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

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  1. Instead of focusing on the extremely life threatening conditions that 3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico face as a result of Hurricane Maria, Trump is STILL criticizing the NFL players' "take a knee" protests:

    "Continuing his tirade against the National Football League, President Donald Trump suggested in an interview with Fox News, which aired Thursday, that NFL team owners may be “afraid of their players.”

    He claimed that “most people” agree with him on his stance that football players should stand during the national anthem instead of kneeling in protest and he called on the NFL to enforce its “rule that’s been in existence for a long time.”

    “The NFL and players really have to do the honor of the country. It’s for the honor of the country. They have to respect our country. They have to respect our flag and our anthem,” he said." Trump: NFL Owners Are Afraid Of Their Players, ‘It’s Disgraceful’ by Nicole LaFond, September 28, 2017

    1. How you can help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico
      "Islands throughout the Caribbean communities are beginning a long road to recovery from several major hurricanes that have ravaged the Atlantic. But Puerto Rico in particular is facing what local officials have described as a full-blown humanitarian crisis, with devastation they call “apocalyptic.”

      Less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria, the worst natural disaster the island has seen in nearly a century. Sixteen people have died as a result of the storm, according to the Associated Press, a number local officials expect to rise. The island has virtually no running water or electricity; around 80 percent of the island’s crops have been destroyed. Scores of Puerto Ricans are gathering around what’s left of the island’s cell towers, desperate for contact with loved ones.

      Nearly all of the U.S. territory’s 3.4 million residents need assistance recovering from the storm. Here’s how you can help."...

  2. Here's a comment that was written in response to United States House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wi) statement that he thinks it's misguided for "NFL players to protest the anthem and the flag":

    lowtechcyclist1h, September 28, 2017
    "I think it’s misguided to protest the anthem and the flag.”

    They're not. They're protesting that our system of justice seems to give free rein for cops to shoot and kill unarmed black people for little if any reason. They are protesting by means of a quiet and discreet action - kneeling - during the national anthem.

    They are not protesting against the anthem or the flag. They are really appealing TO the ideals represented by the flag, insisting that America live up to the ideals that it theoretically stands for. They are invoking those ideals, not protesting against them.

    This is not a difficult concept. Paul Ryan, the alleged wonk, should be able to get his head around it. But of course his political well-being depends on his failing to do so, so he won't."

  3. Here are two comments from an October 10, 2017 article about "taking a knee"

    Roger Goodell Pens Letter To NFL Teams, Believes ‘Everyone Should Stand’
    The commissioner glosses over why athletes are kneeling in the first place. By Jenna Amatulli

    Bob Justice ·
    Citrus Heights, California
    "While I feel we should stand for the national anthem, and I may disagree or don’t like players taking a knee, it is their first amendment right to peacefully protest against social injustice, or other issues. They are not physically hurting people, their job or family. People can choose or not to choose to watch professional sports. It’s a free country!"

    Clin Baker
    "Thank you for at least understanding that. I appreciate it. Question for you though. What if the American population was mostly black, the police force was mostly black, the federal government was mostly black. What if systemic racism was against white people, most of the police brutality and killing was skewed towards white individuals. What if there was a history of slavery and lynchings and jim crow towards whites. Would you still stand? Have you read the National Anthem in its entirety? Would you think America stands for you?"